The Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents is reporting a 5% decrease in public school enrollment statewide during the pandemic, mainly in the lowest grades.

That drop has some education advocates asking state officials to consider taking a different approach to funding next year. A district's enrollment is a factor in the current formula.

In Worcester, where the public schools have reported declines the past two years, not everyone is convinced that COVID-19 is the cause of this year's loss of 1,000 students. Seventy percent of that decrease came in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classes, according to information provided by the district.

“It may be the virus, or it may be a real systemic issue that we're seeing some significant drop of pre-K students coming into the district,” said Jack Foley, a member of the Worcester School Committee.

It is unclear how state education officials plan to address the impact that declining enrollment could have on education aid.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education officials declined an interview with GBH News. The department is scheduled to discuss public school enrollment and funding at its Nov. 24 meeting.

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